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Getting your affairs in order with a Will

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Making a Will and getting your affairs in order will make sure your family know your wishes and ensures that your assets and personal possessions are divided up among those individuals you want to inherit, reducing the stress on your family at a time that will already be emotional and distressing.

Charlottle Pinkham from the Private Client team gives the lowdown on getting your affairs in order with a Will.

Do I really need a Will?

This is the most common question I get asked, especially from married couples, as it is often assumed that everything will simply pass to the surviving spouse.

However, if you do not have a Will in place, under the rules in England and Wales, you are deemed as passing intestate, meaning it is then left to the intestacy rules to determine who benefits from your estate.

Another aspect to note is that unmarried partners and co-habitees are not recognised under the intestacy rules, and so your partner would not benefit from anything in your estate.

If you want control over who inherits from your estate and peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be respected after your death, then you need to have a Will in place.

What should I include in my Will?

Your Will should deal with how you wish everything you own to be distributed on your death.

This is from the small things such as jewellery, personal belongings and car to the bigger assets such as your property, savings, investments, policies and much more. Within your

Will you can state who you wish your beneficiaries to be and the percentage or amount you wish for them to inherit? This can include anyone of your choice, from your spouse, children, friends, and charities, to name a few.

Can I change my Will if I need too?

Yes of course, you can change your Will at any time as long as you have mental capacity and understanding of what you are changing.

We understand that your personal circumstances change, and we advise that you review your Will every 4-5 years to ensure it still meets your current wishes.

When does my Will come into effect?

Once you have approved the contents of your Will, you are then in a position to sign the document.

For a Will to be legal, you need to sign and date in the presence of two independent witnesses who are also required to sign and provide their details.

Once all parties have signed, the Will is legal from that point.

How does my Will get put into place?

This is the responsibility of the Executors that you have named in your Will and is why careful consideration is needed when choosing your Executors.

They are responsible for executing your Will and administering your whole estate.

Anyone of your choice can be your Executor and you can have up to 4 named in your Will. This could be your spouse, partner, children, friends, or a firm of Solicitors, to name a few.

I have a Will in place so does that mean I my estate doesn’t have to go through Probate?

Again, this is a common question I get asked a lot by clients.

Probate is the process of proving that a Will is valid and confirming who has the authority to administer the estate of the deceased.

If the deceased’s estate is valued above a certain amount, it may become necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate.

At what age should I think about writing a Will?

The simple answer to this is as long as you are over 18 years old, you are never too young to consider writing a Will.

I completely understand that it is not top of many things-to-do lists and can be a little daunting to think about death. However, life can be unpredictable and fragile at times, and accidents can and do happen.

I haven’t got much in my estate so why do I need a Will?

When most people think of the purpose of a Will, they immediately think about who is going to inherit their property or their money in the bank.

However, your Will also allows you peace of mind that your funeral wishes will be carried out or your children will be placed with your chosen guardians for them or your share of the property is protected from future potential care cost fees of your surviving spouse.

Do I need a Solicitor to write a Will?

The simple answer is no. You do not need a Solicitor to write a Will and can write one yourself.

Whilst these are legal, they can lead to future problems. For example, if the wording can be considered ambiguous, it could be contested or if it is not signed correctly, it will not be deemed valid.

By using a Solicitor to write your Will, such problems will be addressed and dealt with at the point of drafting the Will rather than when it’s too late to rectify.

If you now feel it is time to write your Will, then contact any member of our experienced Wills & Probate team at Wilson Browne who will be more than happy to help.

Call us on 0800 088 6004 for advice and to start the process today.  We can offer telephone calls, zoom appointments or face to face meetings in any of our 6 offices.

We look forward to meeting you and getting that box on your things-to-do list ticked off.